Convicted felon pleads guilty in high-speed casev
Louis "Chucky" Morsette, 23, was taken into custody at a Rocky Boy residence Monday afternoon. He was arrested by tribal authorities after Hill County sheriff's deputies broke off pursuit near the reservation.
The chase was the second Morsette has been involved in during the past month.
Morsette was charged in Justice Court with reckless driving by eluding for the chase Monday. He pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon during an initial appearance at the Hill County Detention Center and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $320.
The pursuit began at 2:30 p.m. Monday when Deputy James Dahl attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Morsette's Chevy Blazer near the intersection of Taylor and Beaver Creek roads, Dahl said Tuesday. Hill County Justice of the Peace Terry Stoppa had issued an arrest warrant for Morsette after a May 4 incident in which the Box Elder man allegedly outran both Hill County deputies and Rocky Boy police during a high speed chase.
Morsette, who is on felony probation in Hill County for assault, was also wanted for a misdemeanor assault charge in Chouteau County, Dahl said.
Morsette did not yield to Dahl and instead accelerated west on Taylor Road toward Rocky Boy's Reservation, Dahl said.
"I was going about 60 (mph), and he was going much faster," Dahl said. Dahl broke off pursuit near the reservation line and alerted Rocky Boy police, who located and arrested Morsette, Dahl said.
Morsette faces three charges for the May 4 incident. He has been charged in state District Court with felony criminal endangerment, and misdemeanor reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle without plates displayed. Bond was set at $25,000.
Morsette made an initial appearance on the charges Wednesday, and will be arraigned on a later date.
According to the criminal complaint, at 1 a.m. May 4 Deputy Jamie Ross saw a suspicious vehicle on the access to Beaver Creek Lake. Ross attempted to conduct a traffic stop after learning that the driver, Morsette, was wanted in Chouteau County, the document said.
"Before Ross could move his vehicle into position, (Morsette) rapidly accelerated away," the document said. "The road he was traveling on ended at the boat ramp. Ross knew it was a dead end road and positioned his patrol truck to partially block the road to prevent an escape. (Morsette) turned his vehicle around, then rapidly accelerated towards Ross's vehicle. At the last moment, (Morsette's) vehicle swerved and went around the front of Ross's truck, nearly striking it, traveling in excess of 40 mph."
Morsett missed Ross's vehicle by less than a foot, according to the complaint.
Morsette again turned around and drove back toward the boat ramp, the complaint said. The deputy, fearing he was about to be rammed, moved his truck, according to the complaint.
Morsette went across the dam and toward the reservation at more than 80 mph, the document said. The deputy ended the pursuit and notified Rocky Boy police, who chased Morsette until losing him in the mountains, the complaint said.
Morsette is on probation for a incident last year in which he struck a woman with a bat during a bar fight in Box Elder. He pleaded guilty in November to felony assault with a weapon and was given a two-year deferred sentence.
Morsette was charged in Chouteau County in January with misdemeanor assault for allegedly striking a man in the face at a bar, Chouteau County Attorney Steve Gannon said Wednesday.
Depending on the outcome of the charges here, Morsette may be extradited to Chouteau County to appear on the assault charge, Gannon said.
Court records show that Morsette was arrested in Browning on July 12 while riding in a car that had been stolen from a gas station in Havre. Tribal police found marijuana in the vehicle, the document said.